Ash Wednesday this week marked the beginning of the Holy Season of Lent. This is the time every year when we make a special effort to fast, do penance, reflect on our faith and perform acts of charity. In this way we prepare for the great celebrations of Holy Week; the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Christ. It is through the events of the first Holy Week that we attain redemption.
On Ash Wednesday we wear ashes on our foreheads to remind us that we came from the earth and to the earth we will, one day, return. As the ashes is placed on our foreheads we think of the words of Jesus, “Repent and believe in the Good News.” The Good News is that we are loved by God and by his Son. Jesus Christ.
The ashes are made from blessed palm branches, taken from the previous year’s Palm Sunday Mass. The ashes remind us also that God is gracious and merciful to those who call on Him with changed hearts. God’s mercy is of utmost importance during the season of Lent. The Stations of the Cross are most commonly prayed during Lent on Fridays, and especially on Good Friday. Many of us were taught as children to “give up something” for Lent. Our parents made sure that what we did for Lent was really penance. Throughout our history Christians have found that prayer, fasting, and almsgiving were a great help in coming close to Christ.
Nowadays some prefer to look at personal habits that need work or to reach out to people in need. The priority is to grow closer to Christ. We are not asked to be perfect, but we should put forth a good effort. We can pray, fast and give alms. For almost 50 years our people have contributed generously to Trocaire during the Lenten Season. Trocaire is the Irish language word for “compassion”. Trocaire turns the compassion of the Irish people into life-changing support for some of the poorest people in the world.
From the Ennis Parish Newsletter – Adapted.